Ever since I first heard it, I’ve loved the song Greensleeves. I love the simple and beautiful melody, and the lyrics of unanswered love. It’s widely believed that this English folksong was composed by Henry VIII for the one girl who simply wouldn’t be his mistress, Anne Boleyn. That is, before he became obsessed with divorcing his queen consort, marrying Anne and subsequently having her head chopped off, of course. However, it seems unlikely that he had the time to compose songs and write lyrics, what with all the wiving, seducing and beheading he was doing. In fact, it’s more likely that it was written after his death. Some say Lady Green Sleeves was a prostitute, others say she was immortal. Whoever she was, she clearly had a thing for green dresses, and inspired someone to write a beautiful piece of music.
In more recent times the song has been covered by many talented artists, and some of you might even know it as a Christmas carol. However, the most notable version is perhaps Leonard Cohen’s Leaving Green Sleeves. His lyrics are harsher, colder, and just as lovely. If you have the time, it’s worth a listen.
Now, you won’t hear me sing the song, but I will play it for you.